Microsoft security: Will it be different this time?

Friday, 28 June 2002, 3:12 AM EST

The hyperambitious project, code-named Palladium, is supposed to create a platform on which Microsoft and other developers could write all sorts of new software applications for managing security, privacy, copyrights and, yes, even spam.

The idea, said Mario Juarez, the project manager, is to create a virtual vault inside the Windows operating system. In it, each user could create personal "safe-deposit boxes" for storing encrypted information. The information would be accessible only to those software programs, Web sites and people that the computer recognized as being authorized.

The notion of hard-wired authentication rings alarms for conspiracy theorists who sense a plot by which Microsoft might exert even more control over what kind of software could run on future computers. Microsoft dismisses such talk as silly.

"No one will necessarily, by design, have to call up Microsoft or the government to get authorization," Juarez said. "It is merely an architecture. You will be able to create whatever kind of rules you want for each separate application."

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